Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979
This was my 8th visit to Reading. The line-up was a predictable mix of new wave and heavy rock. It was also a year of line-up changes. Two of the main bands who were billed to play: Thin Lizzy and The Ramones did not appear. Thin Lizzy pulled out at a few days notice due to Gary Moore’s departure from the band. Lizzy were replaced by Scorpions and The Ramones by Nils Lofgren. Both of these changes were major disappointments. The weather wasn’t bad and the event was well-attended, but didn’t sell out. My recollections of the weekend are below:
Friday line-up: Bite the Pillow, The Jags, Punishment of Luxury, Doll by Doll, The Cure, Wilko Johnson, Motorhead, The Tourists, The Police.
Friday was the “new wave” day. I watched all of the bands from Punilux onwards. Highlights were The Cure who impressed me even though the only song I had heard before was “Killing an Arab”, and Wilko and Motorhead, both acts going down a storm with the crowd, who preferred their rock heavier and more traditional. The Police were riding on the crest of a wave of success, and were amazing, Sting had the crowd in the palm of his hand, and the entire field sang along to the hits. It was great to witness a band at their peak.
The Police setlist: Deathwish; Next To You; So Lonely; Truth Hits Everybody; Walking On The Moon; Hole In My Life; Fall Out; Message In A Bottle; The Bed’s Too Big Without You; Peanuts; Roxanne; Can’t Stand Losing You; Landlord; Born In The 60s
Saturday line-up: Root Boy Slim; Fame; The Yachts; Little Bo Bitch (not sure that they played?); The Movies; Bram Tchaikovsky; Gillan; Steve Hackett; Cheap Trick; Inner Circle; Scorpions
We spent much of Saturday enjoying the delights of local hostelries and didn’t venture into the arena until later in the day. To be honest, looking at the line-up now, it was pretty uninspiring. We made it into the festival for Gillan onwards. Gillan seemed to play everywhere at the time, and were always good fun. I’d seen them so many times that I was getting to know the new songs, but I also always looked forward to hearing Purple classics, which they did including ‘Smoke on the Water”. Steve Hackett played “I Know What I Like” which prompted a mass crowd singalong. The highlight was Cheap Trick with crazy antics from Rick Nielson and an exquisite performance by Robin Zander. A video of their performance that night is on YouTube. You can find “I Want You To Want Me” here, a bit rough, but still amazing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTLEYcO2VnE
For the encore Cheap Trick were joined onstage by Dave Edmunds and Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs for a rendition of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper”. Classic 😄
Inner Circle’s reggae rhythms went down well. Scorpions were great (I really liked “Loving You Sunday Morning” at the time), but we were disappointed that we weren’t seeing Lizzy who had become a Reading favourite and were massive at the time.
Sunday line-up: The Cobbers; Terra Nova; Speedometers; Zaine Griff; Wild Horses; The Members; Molly Hatchett; Climax Blues Band; Nils Lofgren; Peter Gabriel; Whitesnake.
Sunday highlights for me were The Members who were in the charts with “Sounds of the Suburbs” and got a mixed reaction from the crowds with some people liking them, and others lobbing cans, and Peter Gabriel who started with “Biko” and played classic solo tracks like “Moribund The Burgermeister”, “Solsbury Hill” and “Here Comes The Flood”. Phil Collins joined Gabriel for the end of his set for “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”. Whitesnake closed the evening and were worthy headliners (although they weren’t billed as so, with Peter Gabriel and non-showers The Ramones having shared top billing in the pre-festival publicity). They started with an amazing new song “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” which set the tone for the evening. Ian Paice had just joined on drums and Whitesnake now had three former Purple members (Coverdale, Lord and Paice).
Whitesnake setlist: Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues; Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City; Steal Away; Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick; Mistreated; Soldier Of Fortune; Love Hunter; Breakdown; Whitesnake Boogie.
An enjoyable Reading weekend, if not one of the strongest line-ups.
Archive for the ‘Punishment of Luxury’ Category
The Skids Middlesbrough Rock Garden and Newcastle City Hall 1979
The Skids were an amazing live act, much better in my view, than the late Stuart Adamson’s later and much more successful band, Big Country. The Skids had all the uplifting guitar anthems of Adamson, with some tinges of Scottish folk, coupled with the power of punk and the charismatic front man and vocalist Richard Jobson. The rest of the line-up of the original Skids was William Simpson on bass and Thomas Kellichan on drums. I first saw them on 24th March 1979 at a crazy, wild gig at Middlesbrough Rock Garden.
The Skids were high in the charts at the time with the anthemic “Into the Valley” and were incredibly popular, much too popular for the tiny Rock Garden. I figured I needed to buy tickets for this gig, something I didn’t usually do, so drove down to Middlesbrough and got a couple for me and my mate Dave. We drove down for the gig, stopping off for a drink in a pub near Billingham, where we ran into some mates. The conversation went something like this: Me: “Funny seeing you down here. Where you going?” Friends: “We were going to see the Skids at the Rock Garden in Middlesbrough, but its sold out and we were turned away, so we are on our way back home”. Me: “Yes we are going, but we have tickets”. Friends: ” I doubt you will get in, even with tickets. It is rammed packed and they physically can’t get any more people in there. There are fights at the door and the police have arrived and are turning everyone away”. Me: “Wow. Lets drink up and get down there”. Which we did. Our mates were correct. There was pandemonium at the door, and the bouncers first reaction was to say “No chance, not even with tickets”. However after a bit of persuasion they allowed us to push our way in. We could hardly get into the venue, it was completely crammed so that no-one could move. They kept the doors at the front, and the fire doors at the back, open to let some air in; it was so hot in there. The open doors were also useful so that the bouncers could throw people out, when fights broke out, and there were lots of those. This was one of those nights where I feared for my life; it was so full, so edgy, pretty dangerous. I think the support was local Borough punk band No Way. Anyway, the Skids came on and the place went totally wild, crazy, punks pogoing, beer everywhere, glasses being thrown about, fights down front. A room full of punks singing along to “Into the Valley” and “The Saints are Coming”. Incredible. I wish I could have bottled nights like that. From then on, we were Skids fans and saw them a couple of more times in the brief career.
The next time was, according to my ticket, at a concert on 12 June 1979 at Newcastle City Hall. However, the Skids gigography lists no such gig, but does list a Skids gig at the City Hall on 29 October 1979. And my programme also lists the gig as being on 29 October 1979. Another mystery for my fading memory. Was the gig perhaps rescheduled? Did they play in both June and October? And if so, where is my ticket for the October gig? Who knows. I have stopped thinking too much about such puzzles; it drives me crazy if I do. My ticket shows local art-rock band Punishment of Luxury as support along with a band called The Edge. I don’t know who The Edge were, but looking at the Skids gig list they supported them a lot of times. By the time of this gig Alistair Moore was on keyboards and Rusty Egan (ex-Rich Kids) had joined on drums. What I do remember was another packed wild, uplifting gig.
I saw the Skids once more and will blog on that gig tomorrow.
Update. Thanks to Mitch for solving my puzzle. The Skids did indeed play Newcastle in June and October 1979. I must have been at both gigs. Mitch has provided the set lists below:
The Skids set list at Newcastle June 1979: The Saints Are Coming, Six Times, Out Of Town, Scale, Scared To Dance, Charles, Melancholy Soldiers, Integral Plot, All The Young Dudes, Of One Skin, Sweet Suburbia, Masquerade, Night And Day, Into The Valley. Encores: Reasons, Masquerade, TV Stars, Of One Skin, Into The Valley.
October 1979 set: Animation, Out Of Town, Melancholy Soldiers, Working For The Yankee Dollar, Dulce Et Decorum Est, Masquerade, The Olympian, Pros And Cons, Scared To Dance, The Saints Are Coming, Thanatos, Home Of The Saved, Charade, Into The Valley. Encores: Charles, Of One Skin, All The Young Dudes, Masquerade.
And how could I forget TV Stars which was the B side of Into the Valley and one of the highlights of their shows at the time, and often the start of great singalongs in the Rock Garden.
ALBERT TATLOCK” (TV Stars, The Skids, 1979)
In writing this blog, I can usually remember something of each gig. However, I am defeated by this one. This is one gig of which I have no memories at all of even being there. I can remember going to many gigs at Dunelm House, the home of Durham University Students’ Union, throughout the ’70s; but this one just doesn’t ring any bells at all. I have two ticket stubs (which are conveniently opposite halves and I have put together to form one in the picture here) so I must have attended and Marie must have come along with me. I do, of course, recall seeing the excellent Punishment of Luxury several times in 1978 including a packed gig at Newcastle University Canteen, and supporting local punk heroes Penetration at the City Hall. Punishment of Luxury (or Punilux as they were often called) were quite quirky and unique in their approach. Although their music undoubtedly grew out of punk, their spiky staccato art-rock had much more depth to it, and their performances were very theatrical (they had previously been members of a local theatre group) strange and in some ways scary, with use of masks and dance, lead by front men Brian Bond on vocals and Neville Luxury on guitar. They released the single “Puppet Life” in Summer 1978, and had some significant success, gigging around the UK, and becoming a favourite of John Peel. This gig at Dunelm house came quite early in their career, before they had released any recorded material, and was probably one of the first times I saw them. I googled and found that Buzz and The Period were local punk bands of the time; I’m not sure what O.H.C. was, or what the benefit gig was for. Hope someone can enlighten me 🙂
Rock Against Racism Punk gig Newcastle Guildhall 1977
This Rock Against Racism gig featured The Big G (aka Harry Hack and the Big G), Punishment of Luxury, The Press Studs and Speed. I remember The Big G and Punilux well. Both bands gigged regularly around the north east in the late 1970s, and they have both also recently reformed. I am afraid I don’t recall the Press Studs. The excellent bored teenagers site lists them as: “A very short lived Punk 5-Piece from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne who played fairly regularly at “Gatsby’s”. Speed were one of the first Punk bands to form in the North East, and were around in the early days along with Penetration. They were all very young at the time and used to gatecrash other peoples gigs, jump on stage and play! I am sure I saw this happen at a gig at Newcastle Poly one night. Rock Against Racism was a new concept in 1977, which organised quite a few gigs in the north east, including this one at the Guildhall, which I attended, largely to see Punishment of Luxury who were very impressive at the time.
Penetration Newcastle City Hall December 1978 and October 1979
Penetration played two memorable headlining concerts at Newcastle City Hall in December 1978 and October 1979. The 1978 concert was to promote their glorious first album “Moving Targets”. Support came from Punishment of Luxury and Neon. Punishment of Luxury were building their own following at the time, and were quite unique in their approach. Although their music undoubtedly grew out of punk, their spiky staccato art-rock had much more depth to it, and their performance were very theatrical (they had been members of a local theatre group), with use of masks and dance, lead by front men Brian Bond on vocals and Neville Luxury on guitar. Punilux (as they were known) had released the single “Puppet Life” in Summer 1978. Penetration were achieving national success at the time of this show, with Pauline and the guys often popping up in Sounds and NME. This concert was both a coming home and a celebration of their success, demonstrating that they were now of sufficient standing to headline the great hall where so many big acts had played, and where they had supported The Stranglers and The Buzzcocks only a year or so before. The set consisted of all the old favourites and tracks from the first album, including such great songs as: Life’s a Gamble, their cover of the Buzzcocks Nostalgia, Lovers of Outrage, and Movement. Penetration returned to the City Hall almost a year later. I can’t fully recall who the support act was; my memory tells me it may have been local band The Angelic Upstarts. This time Penetration were promoting their follow up album, ‘Coming Up For Air’. This was part of a full UK tour which visited all of the major venues on the circuit. But things were not right within the Penetration camp, and on stage that night Pauline announced to our shock, “This is the last gig that this line up is ever going to do here… I think everything’s got to change after a while”. I was sitting a few rows from the front, but remember not quite catching what Pauline had said, and not wanting to believe that we were witnessing the end of Penetration. They played the rest of the set with a level of passion and emotion like never before, to a hall full of fans who were simply stunned by her announcement. Penetration went on to complete the tour, including another local gig at Dunelm House, Durham which I attended, and their final gig at The Nashville in London. And there you had it. The end of a very under-rated band who were much more than simple punk. Pauline returned to the City Hall a few years later as Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls, and in recent years Penetration have reformed. But for a couple of years Penetration were out at the front of the local and national music scene, and gave us some great gigs to remember. Setlist from a gig on the last tour: Shout Above The Noise, Life’s A Gamble, She Is The Slave, Life Line, What’s Going On, Movement, Lovers Of Outrage, Party’s Over, Too Many Friends, Killed In The Rush, New Recruit, On Reflection, Nostalgia, Come Into The Open, Danger Signs, Free Money, Don’t Dictate. The following songs were recorded live at Newcastle City Hall in Dec 78 and Oct 79 and appear on the official bootleg: Come Into The Open; Movement; Lovers Of Outrage; She Is The Slave; Too Many Friends; Killed In The Rush